Thursday, 12 February 2015

Paul Lambert's dignified farewell to Aston Villa

I've read many a departure statement via the manager's union. Some are thinly-veiled parting shots at the chairman, others squeak at harshness in dismissal and over-defensive pride in results achieved.

Paul Lambert can rebuild his management career
But these are dignified words from a departing boss.

There's a hint Paul Lambert felt compromised from the get-go but he can have no issue with Randy Lerner, accepting the job walking into Villa Park with eyes wide-open to the cost-cutting task.

Lambert believed he could mould young players into a Premier League force - but Villa got murdered regularly! Then when that didn't work, the older guys did little better. In twenty years, I'll struggle to remember Joe Cole played for Villa just as I squint at Peter Schmeichel's record with us today!

Whatever you think of Lambert's part in Aston Villa's current plight, it wasn't his fault he took charge this season. Neither was it his fault he was offered a four-year contract for securing the princely sum of ten points from the team's opening four games. 

Instead it's the man at the very top whose indecision and vacuum of leadership has led Lambert's replacement to contest "thirteen Cup Finals" to avoid relegation.

I'm told Paul bode farewell to each of his players after the final game of last season at Tottenham. If, like me you were at that 3-0 thrashing, you'll know to be grateful it had nothing riding on it.

Hull was the end of the line
So let's wish Paul the best at a club with less expectation and history than Villa - and support CEO Tom Fox, new manager, Tim Sherwood and his players to contest every one of the 39 points left to win this season.


I am extremely proud to have managed Aston Villa, a founder member of the Football League, and this sentiment will always remain with me.

My initial remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the playing squad, lower the overall wage structure of the playing staff and achieve this whilst keeping the club in the Barclays Premier League. 

There was also a concerted effort to purchase and develop younger players who would provide a solid footing for the football club to move forward and enhance the value of the playing squad in the future.

When I came on board the club's owner, Randy Lerner, warned me that I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working life and he was not wrong.

But I have never stepped away from hard work and I put my heart and soul into the job from my first day until my last.

There are many people throughout my time at Aston Villa to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude.

Firstly, I'd like to thank Randy Lerner for not only providing me with the opportunity to manage one of the most illustrious clubs in world football but also for the support and friendship he offered me throughout my time at the club.

I'd also like to place on record my appreciation to Paul Faulkner who conducted affairs at the club with unstinting integrity and constant dignity during his tenure as Chief Executive.

I leave behind some wonderful people at both Bodymoor Heath and Villa Park and express my gratitude for their dedication and loyalty. A special mention must also go to my coaching staff for their commitment.

To the players, my sincere thanks to each and every one of them. They are a fantastic group of players and I wish them every success for the rest of their playing careers. I hope to see many of them achieve great things in the game.

Finally, I pay tribute to the supporters who are among the most passionate I have ever encountered. They rightly hold huge expectations for their beloved football club and I sincerely hope they are rewarded with the success they deserve.

I completely understand their frustrations and always shared their view that the football club is too big not to be competing at the top end of the table. I hope that can happen.

You never stop learning in football management and I certainly believe the invaluable experience from my time as Villa manager will prove hugely beneficial in the next stage of my managerial career.


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